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10 Tough Interview Questions

Popular interview questions you may be asked while interviewing for a job

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To do your best at an interview, anticipate the questions you may be asked, then practice what you’re going to say. Practice in front of a mirror or with family and friends. You’ll be more relaxed, confident, and more likely to be hired.

See also: How to ace the interview.

These 10 questions are examples of some you might be asked. Not all of them are overtly age-related. But each one gives you an opportunity to present yourself as a skilled, energetic worker who brings high value to an employer.

1. Tell me about yourself. Make your answer short and sweet. Stick to experiences and goals that relate to the specific job for which you’re applying. Resist the impulse to stress your years of experience. It’s more important to talk about your skills and achievements that show you can deliver. Emphasize your flexibility and positive attitude.

2. Why are you looking for a job? Keep it brief. A straightforward answer is best. For example, “My organization was forced to downsize.” Avoid negative statements about yourself, your work, or your ability to get along with others. Never criticize former employers or coworkers.  

3. You haven’t worked for a long time. Why not? You may have gaps in employment for many reasons. Be honest. Speak confidently about your experiences during the gaps. Some could transfer to on-the-job skills. For instance, if you were a caregiver, you managed complex financial issues. As a volunteer, you might have worked with diverse groups and on flexible schedules.

4. What are you looking for? It takes a lot of thinking to be ready for this question. Don’t speak in generalities. Be prepared to name the type of position you think would be appropriate for you and how your skills would translate to a new employer.

5. Aren’t you overqualified for this position? Even though “overqualified” can be shorthand for “old” or “expensive,” it’s important to stay positive. Express your enthusiasm for the job and pride in your qualifications. Explain what makes you interested in this position at this point in your career—such as wanting to apply your skills to a new field or to achieve more flexibility and work-life balance.

Next: Can a potential employer ask your age? >>

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